Note: A more extensive legislation document is available in the Members’ Area.

THE WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC

EQUIPMENT REGULATIONS 2013

SUMMARY  

DISCLAIMER

This paper provides a summary of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 that took effect from 1 January 2014.

 

1. INTRODUCTION

On 12 December 2006, the original Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (‘the Regulations’ - S.I. 2006/3289) were laid before parliament. The majority of their provisions came into force on 2 January 2007, and further amendments were introduced in 2007 and 2009.

However, due to a recast of the EU Directive and calls from industry for a system to reduce the cost to producers, new Regulations (The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013) were produced and laid before Parliament in December 2013 that came into force on 1 January 2014. 

Detailed Guidance on these new Regulations has been published although this document has officially been removed and replaced with more general Guidance.

The new Regulations transpose Directive 2012/19/EU on WEEE (‘the Directive’). As an environmental Directive, it is up to the devolved administrations to decide on how to implement it. The Regulations are GB-wide and Northern Ireland has its own Regulations that are, to all intents and purposes, the same as the rest of the UK.

The Directive is an ‘extended producer responsibility’ Directive and the implementing Regulations follow this principle whereby ‘producers’ of electrical and electronic equipment will have responsibility for the environmental impact of their products when they become waste. By this means, the broad objectives of the Directive, which are to address the environmental impact of WEEE and to encourage its separate collection and subsequent re-use, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal, will be met.

The Regulations are enforced by the ‘appropriate authority’ which is the Environment Agency in England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (‘SEPA’) in Scotland, Natural Resource Wales in Wales and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland.

 

2. CHANGES

The new Regulations have applied many changes although the fundamental principles of the original Regulations remain the same i.e. Producers must be registered and have a market share responsibility for the costs of collection, treatment and recycling of household WEEE collected through a network of Designated Collection Facilities and other approved routes.

The key changes applied by the new Regulations are:

  • Category 14 introduced for PV cells.
  • LEDs to be counted at Category 13.
  • All producers above 5 tonnes Placed on the Market in 2014 should register with a Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS).
  • Where a producer places <5 tonnes onto the UK market, they can register direct with the relevant Agency (EA, SEPA, NRW, NIEA) for £30/annum. They will have no household WEEE obligation, but they will still have the same non-household obligations as large producers. If they choose to register through a PCS, they will retain the household WEEE obligations.
  • Non-household obligations remain as current although new Guidance on 'dual use' items means that these must now be reported as household.
  • A PCS will be given a collection target each year by 31 March that has to be met through obtaining evidence from its own or contracted collections or by paying a Compliance Fee.
  • The Compliance Fee will be set by a body approved by the Secretary of State by 30th September ach year.
  • A PCS target will be calculated by looking at the EEE placed on the market and WEEE collected based on a need for the UK to be separately collecting WEEE that equates to at least 45% of what was placed on the market.
  • Local Authorities (LAs) may choose to retain control over value WEEE streams but must declare their intentions by 31 January and must then report quarterly. This WEEE must go to an AATF and will be included in the target calculations.
  • The requirement for AATF Independent Audit Reports has been removed.
  • Any WEEE delivered to an AATF by someone other than a PCS will not generate evidence but may be used in the national target calculation.
  • LAs will have the right to request a PCS to collect its DCF WEEE regardless of location. PCSs can set up a Producer Takeback Scheme to jointly service these requests.
  • Trading of evidence is not allowed. Any WEEE delivered to an AATF by a PCS will only be credited to that DCF. Where a PCS over collects, it must therefore ensure that it contracts with another PCS to take ownership prior to delivery to an AATF.
  • Viable Plans for PCSs will no longer be required.
  • BIS expects 2014 targets to be broadly in line with PCS 2013 obligations.
  • The market share split of obligation will be by category. However, PCSs will be able to satisfy their obligations for Categories 2-10 through the aggregated amount of Category 2-10 that they collect.
  • PCSs will still be required to report their members EEE quarterly.
  • Overseas companies placing EEE onto the UK market will now be required to register through an Authorised Representative.
  • There is no change for retailers other than those with a sales floor space >400m2 who must now offer free take-back for small WEEE regardless of whether the person purchases a similar product. However, retailers can still be exempt from this requirement if they belong to the Distributor Takeback Scheme.

 

3. DEFINITIONS AND EXEMPTIONS

The Regulations apply to electrical and electronic equipment, which is defined as:

equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields falling under the categories set out in Schedule 1 [to the Regulations] and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,000 volts for alternating current and 1,500 volts for direct current.

The categories in Schedule 1 are:

1. Large household appliances

2. Small household appliances

3. IT and telecommunications equipment

4. Consumer equipment

5. Lighting equipment

6. Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)

7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment

8. Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)

9. Monitoring and control instruments

10. Automatic dispensers

Schedule 2 to the Regulations includes a non-exhaustive list of products that would fall under each category, but a much more useful document to determine what falls into Scope is the Agency Scope Guidance. This has been superseded by a briefer Guidance document that is all that is now available through GOV.UK.

Because of the way that WEEE is generally collected, the UK has extracted 3 types of equipment to create additional categories. To meet EU requirements, a further Category 14 has been added for 2014 onwards. 

Category 11 - display equipment,

Category 12 - cooling appliances containing refrigerants, and

Category 13 - gas discharge lamps

Category 14 - photovoltaic cells 

These are the categories that are used to calculate a producer’s and scheme’s market share of household WEEE and for reporting and record keeping purposes.

Certain EEE is exempt from the scope of the Regulations, in particular:

  • equipment not dependent on electricity to work properly in its basic (primary) function;
  • equipment that is part of another type of equipment which is outside the scope of the Regulations (e.g. an aircraft or car);
  • EEE designed specifically to protect the UK national security or for a military purpose;
  • filament light bulbs;
  • household luminaires for fluorescent lamps;
  • large-scale stationary industrial tools and fixed installations (eg airport luggage system);
  • implanted medical equipment and infected medical equipment.

In broad terms, therefore, if it needs a battery or a plug, fits into one of the categories above and is not exempt, it is in scope and classed as EEE.

The Regulations affect two broad categories of business - producers and distributors - and apply to two different classes of WEEE, depending upon the intended end-user of the original equipment before it becomes waste - WEEE from Private Households (WPH or 'B2C') and Non-Household WEEE (NHW or 'B2B'). Taking these in turn:

The ‘producer’ is defined as:

any person who, irrespective of the selling technique used, including by means of distance communication...

(a) manufactures and sells electrical and electronic equipment under his own brand;

(b) resells under his own brand equipment produced by other suppliers, a reseller not being regarded as the ‘producer’ if the brand of the producer appears on the equipment, as provided for in sub-paragraph (a); or

(c) imports or exports electrical and electronic equipment on a professional basis into a Member State;

In short, if you manufacture EEE and put your brand on it, or brand EEE manufactured by someone else, or import EEE into the UK, you are a producer. There is no 'de-minimis'.

The ‘distributor’ is defined as:

any person who provides electrical or electronic equipment on a commercial basis to the party who is going to use it

regardless of whether that person is providing goods to a consumer (i.e. an individual) or an end-user (i.e. a business - but see ‘Obligations’ below).

Note that a producer who also supplies EEE direct to the person who is going to use it, for example, through staff sales or at trade shows, will also be a distributor.

Regarding the classes of WEEE:

WPH is defined as WEEE which comes from private households and from commercial, industrial, institutional and other sources which, because of its nature, is similar to that from private households (known as 'dual use').

NHW, or business-to-business (B2B) WEEE as it has become commonly known, is not defined in the Regulations, but it is all WEEE other than WPH.

The distinction between household WEEE and non-household WEEE is currently under discussion. The new Directive states that 'Waste from EEE likely to be used by both private households and users other than private households shall in any event be considered as WEEE from private households.' This suggests that most commercial WEEE should be classed as household WEEE, but at present, the Government is maintaining the same distinction as previously ie if it is supplied for business use, it should be classed - and reported - as non-household EEE and unless it is of a similar type collected in similar quantities, it should be classed as non-household WEEE.

The Regulations apply during a ‘compliance period’ which is the calendar year from 1 January - 31 December.

 

4. OBLIGATIONS

4.1 PRODUCERS

Producers have the following obligations:

1. Finance the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and financially sound disposal of WPH deposited at Designated Collection Facilities (‘DCFs’), or returned to producer compliance schemes (‘PCSs’) by distributors or others, during a compliance period;

2. Finance the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of NHW arising during a compliance period from EEE put on the UK market on or after 13 August 2005, and for EEE put on the market before that date where it is replacing EEE that is of an equivalent type or fulfilling the same function (‘historic WEEE’);

3. Where they place 5 tonnes or more of EEE onto the UK market in a year, join a producer compliance scheme (PCS) or if <5 tonnes, register with the appropriate authority

4. Provide information to the scheme (e.g. on the amount of EEE put on the market, in tonnes, by category, plus display equipment (i.e. computer screens in category 3 and television sets in category 4), cooling appliances containing refrigerants and gas discharge lamps, further split into EEE that was intended for use in private households and EEE than was intended for use other than in private households). For B2C producers, the information is to be provided quarterly but, for B2B producers, it is to be provided annually. In both cases, the information must be ‘as accurate as reasonably possible’;

5. Keep records of the information in (4) for four years;

6. Disclose his EEE producer registration number ('EPRN' - issued by the appropriate authority on registration) to distributors to whom he supplies or intends to supply EEE;

7. Mark EEE with:

8. Provide information on re-use and environmentally sound treatment of new types of EEE within one year of the EEE being put on the market.

Producers who are both B2B and B2C can join a different scheme for each.

A producer who is a member of an approved compliance scheme is exempt from the financing obligations (1 and 2 above) as these will be carried out by the scheme on behalf of its members. However, where a producer is a member of a compliance scheme which has its approval withdrawn, it has 28 days in which to join a new scheme or apply to join a new scheme. In the interim period, the producer is responsible for financing the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WPH and NHW. In the case of WPH, the appropriate authority will determine the amount of WEEE for which the producer is responsible. In such circumstances, a producer will have to provide a ‘Declaration of Compliance’ to the appropriate authority by 31 March in the year following the compliance period.

A producer who supplies EEE to end-users in any Member State from outside that Member State by means of distance communication (e.g. mail order, telephone or internet sales) must comply with article 17 of the Directive and appoint an Authorised Representative in that Member State to act on its behalf. The Authorised Representative will have the responsibilities of a producer in that Member State. This requirement applies to producers who supply into the UK to end users through distance selling.

A person who receives EEE into the UK for onward selling to end-users is classed as a producer in the UK.

 

4.2 DISTRIBUTORS

Distributors of WPH have the following obligations:

1. Provide free takeback on like-for-like sales. Where the distributor has a floor space >400m2, they must accept back any WEEE that has no one dimension greater than 25cm free of charge regardless of whether they sell a similar item.

2. Provide information to consumers on:

  • the requirement to minimise the disposal of WEEE as unsorted municipal waste and to achieve a high level of collection of WEEE for treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal;
  • the collection and take back systems available;
  • the role of consumers in contributing to the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of WEEE;
  • the potential health and environmental effects of hazardous substances in EEE;
  • the meaning of the wheeled bin symbol;

3. Keep records of the number of units of WPH returned to him; and

4. Keep records of the information made available to consumers.

A distributor who joins the Distributor Take back Scheme, discussed below, is exempt from points (1) and (3).

Distributors of NHW have no statutory obligations under the Regulations.

4.3 FINAL USERS

For historic WEEE (i.e. NHW put on the market in the UK before 13 August 2005), which is not being replaced or where the producer cannot be identified, the final user is responsible for the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of the WEEE. Such WEEE must be treated at an authorised treatment facility (see below) or exported for treatment, although this does not apply to the re-use of whole appliances.

However, such users may enter into an agreement whereby the parties to the agreement make alternative arrangements for dealing with such WEEE. Presumably, this means that final users may themselves join a compliance scheme and the scheme will take on responsibility for the WEEE.

 

5. THE SYSTEM

5.1 HOUSEHOLD WEEE

The system now operates on the basis of targets set annually by BIS that have to be met by PCSs. Any WEEE collected over and above the targets must still be recycled and Local Authorities have a right to free collection of household WEEE regardless of whether the targets have been met. 

Operators of DCFs (Local Authorities or their Waste Management Companies (WMC) operating on their behalf) and PCSs will set up agreements between themselves to have the WEEE removed. A DCF Operator is entitled to a free of charge collection provided by the PCS, but in practice, many PCSs leave it to the WMC to organise the disposal of the WEEE to an AATF at an agreed charge on the basis that the PCS then gets the evidence.

One of the key changes brought about by the new Regulations is the ability for DCF operators to opt out of PCS collection for any of the 5 WEEE streams (Large Domestic Appliances, Small Mixed WEEE, Cooling equipment, Displays and lamps). If they choose to do this, they must let BIS know by 31 January the sites, categories and expected volumes that they will manage. The reason fo providing this option is to enable Local Authorities to retain the value of WEEE that has a net value. However, the LA has to then commit to retaining responsibility for the whole compliance period even if that net value disappears.

Any WEEE collected under this option must be delivered by the LA to an AATF and must be reported to the relevant Agency.

All WEEE collected from a DCF must delivered to an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF), and treated according to the Best Available Treatment, Recovery and Recycling Techniques (BATRRT). AATFs must be approved by the relevant Agency and appropriately licensed under separate Environmental Permitting Regulations and Waste Management Licensing Regulations. Exporting of whole WEEE for reuse is also allowed.

Any WEEE that requires evidence to be issued must meet recycling and recovery targets laid down by the Directive and the Regulations. It is the responsibility of the AATF to meet these targets and to be able to demonstrate a robust audit trail. In the past, AATFs and AEs were subject to Independent Audit Reports (IAR) that would be required to check that these targets were met, but IARs are no longer required. 

The amount of WEEE for which a PCS will be responsible will be calculated according to its previous year market share applied to the total determined by the Government for a particular category required to be collected in a given compliance period to meet the target. So, for example, if one million tonnes of large household appliances (category 1) is registered in total, and a PCS registers 100,000 tonnes of this, its market share will be 10% and it will be responsible for the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of 10% of the total of category 1 WEEE that the Government decides needs to be collected. This tonnage will then be shared between the members of the scheme according to their own market shares.

Distributors of EEE intended for use in private households have certain obligations under the Regulations, including free like-for-like take-back and record keeping, both of which can be met through joining a Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS). The DTS is appointed every three years by the Secretary of State and is currently run by Valpak.

The DTS accepts distributors as members and the income received, through membership fees, is used to establish and maintain a series of Designated Collection Facilities (DCFs) across the country. The DTS is responsible for approving DCFs and ensuring a satisfactory nationwide accessible system. This is achieved through the use of Local Authority Civic Amenity sites which satisfy the EU requirements for an adequate infrastructure of free of charge collection points foe household WEEE.

Distributors may also offer a free take-back service and provide the collected WEEE to a PCS, on condition that the PCS has established a system to receive such WEEE. 

5.2 NON-HOUSEHOLD WEEE

The Regulations are primarily aimed at household WEEE, not business WEEE. For NHW, however, the Regulations simply state that a PCS will finance the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of NHW arising from its members during a compliance period in the following circumstances:

  • for all EEE put on the market on or after 13 August 2005;
  • for all EEE put on the market before 13 August 2005 where a member of the scheme is supplying new EEE that replaces the old item and is of an equivalent type or performs the same function.

Under this requirement, producers are responsible for items containing their Producer Identification Mark i.e. their brand. In theory, therefore, a business end-user that had some equipment manufactured by Brand X could refer to the Public Register to find out which PCS Brand X was registered with and then contact that PCS to arrange for a collection. Under Guidance issued by BIS, there is no right of collection from the end-user's premises, but the PCS is required to provide a free disposal point for the end-user to take the WEEE to. The PCS would then arrange for the WEEE to be taken to a AATF and evidence to be issued for that WEEE that the PCS would then have to include in its quarterly reporting.

In practice, the complexities of this arrangement, the confusion over brands and the lack of a proper public register of brands and the fact that in many cases, WEEE has a disposal value means that most NHW is disposed of by the end-user under its own arrangements and is never recorded under the WEEE Regulations. The quarterly reported data showing the amount of NHW received by AATFs and the evidence issued is therefore extremely low, a problem for Government in trying to demonstrate that the UK is meeting its national collection targets.

Producers of NHW and end-users may also enter into commercial agreements whereby the end-user takes responsibility for all EEE from that producer when it becomes waste. This means that the producer then has no responsibility for the collection and treatment of that WEEE at the end of life anyway.

For 2015, producers of NHW are required to report 'dual use' equipment as WFH. From 2016 onwards, this will be taken into consideration in the setting of WEEE collection targets by BIS. 

6. COSTS 

There are, of course, costs associated with compliance. For distributors, the cost is for membership of the DTS or for setting up his own take-back system. For producers who register through a PCS, there are a number of fee elements they may have to pay:

  • the relevant Agency registration fee (see below);
  • annual scheme membership fee;
  • the cost of collecting, treating etc. the WEEE for which the producer is responsible, for both WPH and NHW (included in the membership fee for Fixed-price members of our scheme - see ‘Membership Categories' on the main menu for details).

The Regulations impose a sliding scale of Agency registration fees that must be paid by a PCS for each of its members:

  • for each member who falls under the 5 tonnes de-minimis threshold - £30
  • for each scheme member that is not, and is not required to be, registered under the Value Added Tax Act 1994 - £30;
  • for businesses whose turnover is £1 million or less, not covered by the above case - £210; and
  • for those businesses whose turnover is more than £1 million - £445

A PCS must also pay the Agency an application charge on applying for approval as a PCS. This is a one off of £12,150.

The membership charge made by PCSs varies hugely depending on the type of service that the PCS offers. Clarity's charges are amongst the lowest in the sector reflecting the efficiencies that have come through systems automation and the value that Clarity can provide.

PCSs will also charge fees in relation to the market share costs of collecting, treating and recycling the amount of WEEE necessary to satisfy each member's household WEEE obligations. Where a member only has NHW obligations, there may also be fees for providing collection services that may arise from end-user requests. 

 

7. TIMESCALES

The Regulations are based on an annual ‘compliance period’, from 1 January to 31 December. The table below shows the key dates related to the transition from 2013 to 2014 and those relate to the new Regulations from 2014 onwards.

Event

up to 2013
2014 onwards

 

 

 

Deadline for PCS to apply for registration

fm 1 Jul - 31 Aug in each yr
same

Large producers must apply to join PCS

by 15 November
by 15 November

Deadline for PCS to apply to register producers

30 November
30 November
Compliance Period starts 

1 January 

1 January 

Small producers must register with Agency 

n/a

 by 31 January

DCF operators to advise BIS on opt out sites and weights

n/a
by 31 January

PCSs to provide final data on previous year

by 31 January
by 31 January

Agencies to advise PCSs on targets by category

n/a
31 March
PCSs to issue Declaration of Compliance

 31 March

31 March 

PCSs and AATFs/AEs provide data for Q1

by 30 April
by 30 April

PCSs and AATFs/AEs provide data for Q2

by 31 July
by 31 July
Deadline for establishing Compliance Fee 

n/a 

30 September 

PCSs and AATFs/AEs provide data for Q3

by 31 October

by 31 October 

End of Compliance Period 

31 December 

31 December 

PCSs and AATFs/AEs provide data for Q4 

 

by 31 January